E-Handbook: The expanding universe of enterprise accounting software Article 1 of 4

Accounting software breathes life into static numbers

Are your books in order? Do they balance? These questions can be terrifying for any business -- especially for the unprepared during tax season, untimely audits and financial forecasting. Gone are the days of the desk-bound, nearsighted accountant ensconced with green visor, black armbands and adding machine, toiling over voluminous ledger balance sheets filled with rows and columns of handwritten numbers. Digitization of record-keeping and bookkeeping has streamlined the process and manifested into sophisticated enterprise accounting software.

Today's accounting software can more reliably and accurately record and process transactions -- such as accounts payable, accounts receivable, general ledger, payroll, purchases, billing, inventory and bookkeeping -- from the office desktop and remotely from the web. The type of industry and number of employees are determining factors in software selection and the associated number of functional business modules. Large and small organizations, from ERP-based enterprises to SMBs, can develop their own programs in-house or purchase multifunctional on-premises, hybrid and cloud-based packages from a software vendor.

Propelled by the cloud's storage and cost benefits, the accounting software market is projected to surpass $19.5 billion by 2026, according to Mordor Intelligence, which added that the trend of small and medium businesses collaborating with e-commerce players, plus integration with other online applications, is expected to further drive the adoption of accounting software.

In addition, advanced accounting software features like AI and analytics are breathing life into static numbers. Businesses can derive predictive insights and outcomes that improve strategic intelligence, operational workflows, risk management initiatives, employee engagements and customer experiences.

Balancing the books shouldn't be a balancing act. It should be more about science than art. Taken together, digital automation, process integration, the cloud, AI, analytics and scalability have transformed the one-dimensional mundane tasks associated with "bean counting" into a multidimensional financial force impacting every aspect of an enterprise.

This handbook explores the features and benefits of enterprise accounting software, including the range of accounting applications available -- from simple to complex, regardless of company size -- and key factors to consider when choosing the right software package.

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